Winter can last anywhere from a few months to half the year, depending on where you live.
That’s a long time to endure freezing temps without becoming frazzled!
Cold, dry temperatures, light air, rough, erratic winds, and extended darkness deplete and disorient us if we are not diligent in our self-care during winter. Having a consistent dinacharya is a great tool for self-care.
What is Dinacharya?
The Ayurvedic term, dinacharya, refers to one’s daily routine. It is important to note that being consistent with dinacharya is just as important as the activities in the dinacharya!
Imbalances that occur at this time are largely caused by vata dosha—an excess of air and space elements that make for erratic behavior, nervousness, inability to focus/concentrate, fear, and more. Vata dosha is brought back into balance by slowing down, grounding, and anchoring yourself to your dinacharya. Yours may differ from someone else’s in the activities that it consists of, but once again, the timing of the activities should be consistent for all of us.
Here is an example of dinacharya:
- Rise by 6:00 am
- Brush teeth and scrape tongue
- Perform abhyanga (warm oil massage) and/or dry brush the skin
- Make time for contemplative practice/yoga and/or exercise
- Eat breakfast
- Carve out time for relaxation and play
- Eat supper
- Connect with friends/loved ones
- Turn off all devices one hour before bedtime
- Lights out by 10:00 pm
Download our Dinacharya poster for your wall or fridge.
Dietary Considerations for Winter
Winter is vata season. Vata is comprised of cold, dry, light, rough, and erratic qualities (gunas).
Apply Opposite Qualities (Gunas)
- One way to combat the cold is to adhere to the Ayurvedic tenet of applying opposites to correct imbalances:
Cold>Warm • Dry>Moist • Light>Heavy • Rough>Smooth • Erratic>Stable
- Make your meal mantra, “I favor warm, moist, well-cooked foods in winter.”
- Sip very warm water throughout the day and enjoy chai tea.
- Avoid skipping meals and eat meals at the same time each day.
- Favor seasonal eating.
Spice up your life and use plenty of good fats like ghee.
Try our Curry recipe.
More Support for Vata Dosha in Winter
In excess, vata’s qualities can create separateness and loneliness. Nourishing one’s self with actions and foods that cultivate warm, moist, grounding qualities are an act of self-love. A Sanskrit word for love is sneha. Sending sneha your way with these recommendations for balancing vata dosha:
Winter Dress Code
Dress in layers, and keep the head, ears, and neck covered when you are outside—vata dosha is famous for creeping in at the neck and ears. Favor warm colors such as soothing earth tones.
Avoid stretching yourself too thin with socializing or giving too much of your time and energy to others. Be sure to make regular deposits into your own emotional/physical/energetic bank account.
Make Time for Slowing Down
Spend time alone to recharge your batteries and practice self-care.